A literature synthesis of health promotion research in salons and barbershops

Am J Prev Med. 2014 Jul;47(1):77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Context: Barbershops and beauty salons are located in all communities and frequented by diverse groups of people, making them key settings for addressing health disparities. No studies have reviewed the growing body of literature describing studies promoting health in these settings. This review summarized the literature related to promoting health within barbershops and beauty salons to inform future approaches that target diverse populations in similar settings.

Evidence acquisition: We identified and reviewed published research articles describing formative research, recruitment, and health-related interventions set in beauty salons and barbershops. PubMed and other secondary search engines were searched in 2010 and again in 2013 for English-language papers indexed from 1990 through August 2013. The search yielded 113 articles, 71 of which were formerly reviewed, and 54 were eligible for inclusion.

Evidence synthesis: Included articles were categorized as formative research (n=27); recruitment (n=7); or intervention (n=20). Formative research studies showed that owners, barbers/stylists, and their customers were willing participants, clarifying the feasibility of promoting health in these settings. Recruitment studies demonstrated that salon/shop owners will join research studies and can enroll customers. Among intervention studies, level of stylist/barber involvement was categorized. More than 73.3% of intervention studies demonstrated statistically significant results, targeted mostly racial/ethnic minority groups and focused on a variety of health topics.

Conclusions: Barbershops and beauty salons are promising settings for reaching populations most at risk for health disparities. Although these results are encouraging, more rigorous research and evaluation of future salon- and barbershop-based interventions are needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barbering*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans